Book Review: Paper Towns

Book Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

John Green is an American author who specializes in books for young adults. He has become very successful in the past few years and has the awards and titles to prove it. Two of his most popular books include his debut novel, Looking for Alaska and his most recent book, The Fault in Our Stars. Looking for Alaska won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2006. When The Fault in Our Stars was released in early 2012 it was at number 1 on The New York Times Bestseller List and was recently turned into a movie which became number 1 in the box office. To top it all off, in 2014 he made it on Time’s 100 Most Influential People List. Aside from all of his literary achievements, he has invented a charity called “Project for Awesome,” launched an event known as “Vidcon” and he and his brother, Hank Green, run a popular Youtube channel.

John’s third book is called Paper Towns and follows around a teenager named Quentin Jacobsen who has always been in love with his neighbor, the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman. Quentin, otherwise known as “Q,” has been infatuated with Margo since they were friends as children. But after they found the body of a man who committed suicide in a park they lost touch. Years later when Margo climbs through Q’s window and recruits him as an accomplice in her carefully laid out plan for revenge on her cheating boyfriend, he is shocked but agrees to help.

After a whole night of shenanigans, Quentin is excited to talk to his new friend Margo, but she is no where to be found. Q doubts that she left without an agenda and figures she had to have left some kind of clue. So once he breaks into Margo’s room, clues are exactly what he finds. Clues that give Quentin hope that he might be the one to solve the mystery of Margo Roth Spiegelman.

Something that Quentin finds himself struggling with throughout the whole book is trying to understand Margo and how she works. When Margo initially approaches him at his bedroom window in the middle of the night he is mesmerized. Over the next couple days following Q and Margo’s nighttime adventure and Margo’s disappearance, Q realizes that he knows absolutely nothing about the girl he'd fantasized about since his childhood. He’s only known Margo Roth Spieglman, the most popular, pretty, mysterious girl in school but that’s all anyone knows. Margo herself is an unsolved puzzle. But once Q starts finding all the secret clues she leaves behind he learns more about her which leads him to questioning himself.

Paper Towns has it all, humour, mystery, romance and concepts that many young adults will surely relate to. John Green is known for writing books that showcase a teenage boy who fantasizes over an unattainable, mysterious girl who somehow ends up changing their life. But he creates such interesting, outgoing characters and his writing style is so well thought out, clever, and sometimes even poetic that it doesn’t seem like a corny love story. Something that John Green does really well with is his use of language, he knows exactly how to word things to make everything as believable as possible. The conversations had in the book and the thoughts his characters express make complete sense with the mind of teeangers and that’s why his books are so popular. Teenagers and young adults understand and enjoy it. But don’t let that fool you, I’m sure almost any adult would really enjoy any book written by John Green. I would recommend Paper Towns in particular to anyone who is 13 or older, since it is a book written about a bunch of high school seniors there isn’t much of a filter and some of the things the characters say and/or think might not be what all parents want their kids to be reading about.

I have read two of John Green’s other books aswell, Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. I finished each of the three books within a very short time period because I couldn’t put them down. I was never bored while reading them and was sucked into the character’s world quickly because John Green’s writing grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. I don’t really have anything bad to say about any of his books except for the fact that I was a little let down by the ending of Paper Towns, not that it was bad I was just left wanting more.

All in all, John Green is a very talented author and the popularity surrounding his books is for good reason. You should definitely give at least one of them a read because you won’t be disappointed.

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Penguin

Date of publication: October 16, 2008

Number of pages: 305

Genres: Young adult fiction, Mystery

For my creative portion of the project, I drew the route the characters took to New York from Florida to find their friend Margo. A lot of interesting things happen to them on the way so I drew pictures to represent them along their route and visualized their whole journey. I thought that this part of the book, part 3, was very important along with it being my favorite part and I wanted to incorporate it into my creative response.

Comments (7)

Olivia Mack (Student 2016)
Olivia Mack

I really like your creative piece, I feel like it really reflects what the main idea of the book is about. I also really like your book review, I feel like you explained a lot about how John Green is a very influential author. Good Job :)

Brandon Yam (Student 2016)
Brandon Yam

I've never read Paper Towns, but it sounds really good! Your book review highlights many of the authors awards along with key points in the book. Your creative piece looks neat and organize. The reason I say this is because with so much going on in there, it could have gotten very messy. Great job!

Kevin Le (Student 2016)
Kevin Le

Reading your book review made me a little interested in the book and maybe considering reading it more. I really liked your creative piece and what you did with it. Its cool how you drew pictures on the side of the map to represent what they did during their trip.